Can and Should the United States Preserve a Military Capability for Revolutionary Conflict?
An examination of the probable nature of revolutionary conflict in the 1970s, its threat to U.S. interests, the appropriate U.S. response, and the organizational changes necessary if a minimal U.S. military counterinsurgency capability is to be maintained. Ethnic-separatist and radical-nationalist rebellions are most likely in the 1970s, but will not necessarily threaten U.S. interests. However, an internal revolt in danger of becoming an issue of strategic concern may require a limited U.S. response to deter it. To minimize the possibility of escalating its assistance, the United States should sharply distinguish between two kinds of response — internal security assistance (training and advice) and direct military intervention — and preserve a specialized capability for only the former. Moreover, such U.S. assistance should be (1) small, stressing high-quality rather than high-quantity contributions; (2) coordinated with an equally specialized civilian effort; and (3) focused primarily on the host country's authority structure.